LOS ANGELES -- An all-female, hip-hop version of A Midsummer's Night's Dream opened recently at the Gascon Center Theatre and has been playing to responsive youthful audiences.
"I think it's Shakespeare's most accessible play," said Lisa Wolpe, artistic director of the Los Angeles Women's Shakespeare Company. "I've added gospel and rhythm and blues singers. The clothing is contemporary and the dance style is a kind of hip-hop."
Wolpe's casting of the show was equally innovative. She chose a double cast of more than 20 girls, ages five to 15, all members of the locally based, multi-ethnic Dance for Self-Esteem Ensemble, for the fairy roles.
Starring Fran Bennett, Melanee Murray, Wolpe, Kimberliegh Aarn and Veralyn Jones, Midsummer plays through May 17. Performances are Thurs.-Sat. at 8 PM; Sun. at 3 PM. Tickets are $15; $12 for students and seniors. The Gascon Center Theatre is at 8737 Washington Blvd., Culver City. Call (310) 289- 2111.
-- By Willard Manus
Southern California Correspondent